Monday, June 30, 2008

mislaid gifts

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A couple of years ago, my cousin got me this cool Eeyore Bubble Machine. At the time I first saw it, it was the middle of summer - my cousin was too excited to make me actually wait until Christmas, so I got to open it early. She then took it back, and held on to it for when Christmas really rolled around. Fast forward a couple of years - I again found a gift waiting for me in the middle of the summer. Lo, and Behold, it was Eeyore!

Elizabeth loves the eeyore bubbles. She has a new word - "Bub bubb!" - which she says every time she sees the machine. She screeches and giggles happily when we turn it on for her.

Friday, June 27, 2008

yum... raspberries!

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A few days ago, we were up surveying the garden (my lettuce is doing quite well! yum!). Our neighbor pointed out that the black raspberries are starting to ripen, so we pick a couple of handfuls. Elizabeth had never tried raspberries, so I offered one. At first, she plainly refused. Once she saw that Jude and I were eating them, she became much more interested. She tried one, and then she kept coming back for more.

So, a day later Elizabeth and I went up to the garden to pick some more berries. She knew right away what they were, and reached out her hand in her new "more"gesture (which is kind of like a "come here" or "give that to me" gesture) So, I'd pick a few, give her a few, pick a few, give her a few...

Eventually the mosquitos chased us away, but we made off with half a pint or so of fresh raspberries.

As soon as we got home, I sat her at the table with a bowl full of more berries for her. This was the result of that action:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

minor setbacks

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My week at camp was a minor setback, in terms of weight loss. Not only was there a lot of heavy food at meals, but there was also access to the "canteen" where I could buy cheap single servings of treats like ice cream sandwiches and dreamsicles.

The amount of walking I did crossing the campgrounds on a daily basis doesn't compensate for the increased intake of calories, nor does the sandbagging. I fully understood what I was doing when I ate all those treats (we're talking 4-5 treats per day - way more than my maybe one treat per week at home.)

So, it comes as no surprise that I am now up 5 pounds from my recent low (that was about 3 weeks ago - I was already on an upward trend - not so good.) It's also no surprise that I find myself craving junk food and sugary snacks. Last night I gave in and walked to the convenience station (thankfully it's about 2 miles round trip) and bought some potato chips and a soda. And I know all the bad stuff that's in such items!

The only thing to do now is to put myself back on a normal routine - eat wholesome, healthy foods, and most importantly, get back on the exercise band wagon. As I type this, I am loathe to exercise. I'm still tired from last week, and it's humid. Excuses, excuses...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

victory for missouri midwives

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Tuesday handed a big victory to Missouri Midwives. The Missouri Supreme Court handed down an opinion that essentially said that the physicians associations bringing suit against the State of Missouri had no standing to do so. Here is the Opinion Summary.

Here are several links that really cover the issue better than I can:

The midwives aren't necessarily out of the woods yet. The plantiffs have 10 days to file for a rehearing. If no rehearing is granted, then CPM's will be free to practice in the state of Missouri! (At least, until the legislature is back in session, and the yrush to A)repeal the law or B)regulate the midwives. I'm betting that we'll see some regulation laws enacted at the end of summer 2009.) But for now...

Yay for midwives and homebirth families in Missouri!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

daddy's little girl

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Elizabeth totally has Jude wrapped around her little finger.

We were at Wal-mart before camp shopping for some last minute supplies. While I was doing the serious shopping, Jude wandered into the toy section and picked up a remote controlled helicopter for himself. I found them there near the helicopters, and Jude walked me over to a different aisle. He then went on to tell me how Elizabeth had earlier made a bee-line for this:

and that we couldn't get him a toy, and not her a toy, and besides, she really seems to like it, and she's big enough to ride it. It will give her something to do at camp.

So we bought it.

And she learned a new word because of it: PUSH!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


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I've returned from a week at camp. In the midst of near-record flood levels, my family crossed the Mississippi River. On our trip home, we crossed the same bridge I crossed to come home in '93 - it was oddly similar.

Our first night there, we spent the evening sandbagging at a historic landmark called the Nauvoo House. On and off throughout the week, people from camp were helping out sandbagging, walking the levee, and making midnight calls for help when a boil in the levee appeared, and the seepage through the softened earth grew too much for the pumps to keep pace.

On the night the boil popped up, Jude had already gone to the levee to help out - the river hadn't yet crested, and there was much concern about the direction of the next few days. Around 11 pm, a call came out for sandbaggers - they needed them now. My cousin, who was at the same camp with her son came over to my cabin. Did I want to go? I had just put Elizabeth to bed (poor kid - long week), and I knew she was pretty much out for the night. We loaded the 2 kids into the car (her son was there, too) and headed on down. For the next hour, we made sandbags while our children slept peacefully in the car just 10 yards away.

So far, the levee has held, and as the river level has dropped, the care takers of the Nauvoo House have relaxed a little.

The wildlife around the river are taking it in stride - the frog and the turtle were both enjoying the sandbags.

All these photos were taken the at the end of camp, after all the work during the week - we were all too busy to take pictures while we were sandbagging.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

rising waters

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I've lived the majority of my life within a few miles of the Mississippi River. Now with all this rain, I'll get to see nature exerting its power over humans, we, who would like to think that we control nature.

During the flood of '93, I lived in Missouri, but I was spending a couple of weeks in Illinois - one at a church camp, and then spending another week with a friend. The first week at camp was merely wet and rainy, with lots of places that I wasn't familiar with flooding.

I remember being in Quincy, Illinois, after camp at a KFC, and hearing over the radio playing in the store that the levy at West Quincy had broken. I remember stepping outside with my friend and her family, and seeing the billowing smoke from a gas station across the river that caught fire in the rushing waters as a barge swept across the flood plain and hit the gas station. You can still see a barge that was stranded more than a mile from the river front in West Quincy, Missouri.

I remember riding a trolley across the dam at Keokuk to pick up the friend's Dad from work - they lived on one side of the river, he worked on the other - and that was the only way to get across the river for a long ways. I remember at the end of the week driving across the bridge at Keokuk - the only passable road between the two halves of our country in a several hundred mile stretch, looking out the car window and seeing flood waters held back at eye level.

My neighbor, who lived here during the Flood of '93, has been telling me stories of their experiences of living for weeks out of work, and the struggles that their friends and neighbors experienced as they were flooded out of their homes for weeks. Thankfully, we live on a bluff and are not at risk of being flooded out (if were were to be flooded, there better be an ark around somewhere). But to see the communities around us evacuating with the memories of '93 refreshed in their minds makes this year's flooding so much more personal.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

well done, good and faithful plasti-car

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I am without a vehicle this week.

My 1996 Saturn SL (with power nothing) finally had a major problem - the manual transmission has essentially quit on me. After 225,000 miles. Not too bad for being original equipment.

It has been kind of crunchy in the shifter for a long while - 1st and 3rd gears were problematic, and reverse sometimes would kick out of gear. But, this past Friday, it proved to be exceptionally bad - strong-arming the shifter at all gears became the modus operandi. We were in the car for about 9 hours that day, and wound up in Iowa for the wedding of a family member. Jude was concerned that the clutch might actually completely fail before we got home (thankfully, it didn't.) Once the car was home, we decided there was no point in causing further injury to shoulders or running the risk of my being stranded with a baby in hot weather.

So, we shall get the plasti-car repaired - even though it will probably cost around $700 to fix it. It still gets 36-37 mpg on short trips, and we've gotten 42 mpg in the last 2 years on very long car trips. Funny thing is, we may end up getting a new (to us) car anyway, since we don't like to take the Saturn on long trips - it's not comfortable for tall people, and although no one except Elizabeth might think of me as tall, Jude certainly has to do some body-folding to get into the vehicle (to say nothing of our longer-limbed friends and family). And, there's a reasonable chance that our family will grow at some point in the future. We could certainly make it work - 2 car seats can fit in the back, and we could travel much more lightly, but since we don't have a NEED to make it work, the days of the Saturn in our family may be numbered. (I remember my parents packing 4 kids into a car not much bigger than the Saturn for long car trips - how did they do it?!?)

I love my plasti-car, and I love the fuel economy I get with it - it would certainly be hard to give it up, but if the right reasons present themselves, I'd certainly consider it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

swim diaper bargains, or corporate mark-ups

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Summer is here, and it's time for a baby swimsuit. Last summer, we had her in this cute matching suit and hat set from iplay baby wear.

Although I wasn't keen on the price ($20 for teh suit, $10 for the hat), I hadn't found any other reusable swim diapers that satisfied me. Reusable swim diapers fit right in with my cloth diapering attitude - why use anything else? And, honestly, I thought it was a pretty cute set.

I've undergone a little bit of a transformation when it comes to children's clothing - I much prefer to buy good condition used clothing from yard sales and consignment shops. Generally, the consignment shops are more expensive than the garage sales, but consignment shops are more likely to have what you need in the size you need it, without spending many days driving around and not finding what you are looking for. And, if you're a brand name kind of person (which, apparently I am) you can find lots of brand name clothes at great prices.

So, in my quest this year, I headed straight to a consignment shop. I didn't have time to poke about the yard sales, and I knew just what I was looking for.

I found the following items on my shopping trip:

A pink pair of baby crocs (yes, I know about the hazard of letting children wear these toe biters. I'm in rural Missouri. We don't have escalators. We hardly have curbs.) - retail price $25.00 - my price - $5.00, and in like new condition.

A pair of water shoes for Elizabeth - $3.00

Best of All - a Play Baby bikini swimsuit New with Tags - retail $10.99, my price - $5.00

I was somewhat disappointed, however, that it wasn't an iPlay swimsuit. It's remarkably similar, but alas, not the same brand. There was something about the suit that caught my attention - there wasn't too much identifying information on the tags, and I became curious about who manufactured it. All I could find on the tag was an 800 number, so I Googled it. Lo, and Behold! Play Baby is manufactured by I Play. No wonder the suit looked so familiar! I called the number, and they tell me that there is no difference in quality - the Play Baby brand is made for mass market distributors, while the I Play brand is made for specialty shops. Different patterns are used in the different brand lines.

So, in the end, I got the suit that I wanted, and saved $15 in the process.

Way to save some dollars, and still dress my girl in cute clothes!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Elizabeth's words

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(Helping Jude wash the dishes.)

Here is a somewhat comprehensive listing of Elizabeth's words and phrases:

hot (Ha!)
phone (po)
Woo, woof
What's this? (ahtz ees?)
beep, beep (while holding her nose)
belly button (beybuh)
thank you
here you go
whoooo.. whoooo.... (wind blowing)

There you go - about 30 words (and some more that I'm forgetting.)

(Elizabeth likes to wear my shoes.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

ewwww.... cockroaches!

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I've been working on preparing for my Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC) Exam. (say what?) Yes, the FSSMC. So I can be a cook at summer camps. Never saw that one coming... But it's something that I feel is important to do. In the state of Illinois, we are required to have someone with current a FSSMC in the kitchen during our summer camps, and unfortunately, there are few volunteers willing to put in the money and effort to have the appropriate certificate.

So, on to the cockroach part of the title:
As part of my studies, I have been learning about different kinds of pests found in food service establishments. Cockroaches are a notorious pest. I dutifully studied the images of the different varieties of cockroaches, learned about the habitats and methods of pest control.

I was definitely icked out when I realized the the creatures my husband had been calling "waterbugs" were indeed a variety of cockroach. And, Unfortunately, I have seen some in my house. Gross! But, even though I laboriously learned about pests, I couldn't quite identify my pest.

I'm not inclined to be rash and uniformed. I caught one, and it's been living in a glass jar for a few days. I've been searching to figure what exactly I have in my jar. Finally, I think I've found the right one - the Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach. Here's the pdf file that really clinched it for me. The markings are right, the behaviors seem to fit. I guess I'll just have to wait around for a few weeks (thankfully, I'll be out of the house a lot this summer) to see if they do, indeed, go away on their own.

Gross. Cockroaches.

summer's a comin'

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Every year as the school year ends and summer begins, I find the days past quickly. I'm gearing up for summer camps. What this means for you, my readers, is that I will probably end up posting much less regularly than my target of 5 days a week. I'm not one of the fortunate people who can muster up a slew of posts to automatically publish in my absence.

So, fair warning - I'll do my best, but I'll be away from my computer for about 5 weeks out of this summer. And the weeks in between will be spotty.
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